If the message hasn't already been received around the conference, the message was heard loud and clear after tonight.
The message: Keitha Adams has a really, really good basketball team.
UTEP came out strong, weathered a fourth quarter comeback, and improved to 12-1, and 3-0 in conference play with a 84-73 win over a rebuilding, but prominent conference power Middle Tennessee.
Jenzel Nash scored a game high 26 points, on 10-of-11 shooting from the free throw line, Cameasha Turner was 7-of-7 from the free throw line, adding 20 points and five rebounds giving UTEP their seventh straight win at home.
The Miners started 7-of-10 from the floor, and jumped out to an early 12-3 lead before Middle Tennessee woke up to close the gap to 12-9 with six straight points in a little over a minute.
UTEP finished the first quarter with a 25-16 lead, then outscored Middle Tennessee 20-14 in the second quarter to take a comfortable 45-30 advantage into the halftime break.
Middle Tennessee would trim the UTEP lead to single digits twice in the third quarter, but the Miners led 59-46 after three quarters of action.
Opening the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run, a three point play from Olivia Jones put the Blue Raiders right back in it, trailing 63-58 with 6:43 left in the fourth quarter after Jones' conversion.
Jenzel Nash would answer with a three point play of her own, then Cameasha Turner knocked down a three-pointer in the middle of a 13-5 UTEP run that ended with a Nash layup and pushed UTEP ahead 76-63 with 2:40 left in the game.
UTEP was a ridiculous 33-of-37 from free throw line, and out rebounded the Blue Raiders 42-34 with Sparkle Taylor and Tamara Seda each accounting for seven rebounds off the bench.
Shooting just 1-of-8 in the game from behind the three point line, UTEP forced 16 turnovers that led to 19 points, something this UTEP team continues to does best with pressure on the perimeter.
Mark three wins in a row for Keitha Adams' group, next up is a Sunday matchup with UAB at 5:00 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center.